Cherie Lunghi

A Life on Stage and Screen

Cherie Lunghi is a name synonymous with British acting royalty. From gracing the silver screen in historical epics to captivating audiences in beloved television shows, her career spans over four decades. But who is the woman behind the unforgettable performances? This article delves into Lunghi’s life, exploring her notable roles, theater work, and her lasting impact on the entertainment industry.

Early Life and Stepping onto the Stage

Born Cherie Mary Lunghi in Nottingham, England in 1952, Lunghi’s passion for acting blossomed early on. After attending the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, she embarked on a successful theater career. The stage provided a platform for her to hone her craft, tackling diverse roles in productions ranging from classics like Shakespeare to contemporary plays.

Her theater work garnered critical acclaim, establishing her as a rising talent. Notably, she appeared alongside her then-husband, Ralph Lawson, in “The Italian Straw Hat.” Despite a brief marriage, Lunghi continued to flourish on the stage, solidifying her reputation as a versatile and captivating performer.

A Star is Born: Lunghi Takes on Hollywood

The 1980s marked a turning point in Lunghi’s career. She landed her breakout role as Queen Guinevere in John Boorman’s fantasy epic “Excalibur” (1981). The visually stunning film, featuring a stellar cast that included Helen Mirren and Nigel Hawthorne, catapulted Lunghi onto the international stage. Her portrayal of the legendary queen, caught in a love triangle with King Arthur and Lancelot, earned her widespread recognition.

Building upon this success, Lunghi continued to secure prominent roles in films throughout the decade. She played opposite Liam Neeson in “The Mission” (1986), a powerful historical drama set in South America. Lunghi’s captivating performance as Carlotta, a woman caught in the turmoil of colonialism, showcased her range and ability to handle complex characters.

Her filmography expanded to include diverse genres, from the thriller “Frankenstein” (1994) to the heartwarming family film “The Borrowers” (1997). Lunghi’s ability to seamlessly transition between dramatic and lighter roles cemented her place as a sought-after actress in British cinema.

Television Triumphs and Beyond the Screen

Lunghi’s talent wasn’t confined to the big screen. Television viewers were equally captivated by her performances. The 1990s saw her take on the groundbreaking role of Gabriella Benson in the critically acclaimed series “The Manageress” (1990-1991). Lunghi shattered stereotypes by portraying a successful female football manager, paving the way for more diverse stories on television.

In addition to her lead roles, Lunghi graced numerous television shows with her guest appearances. From period dramas like “Poirot” to heartwarming shows like “Heartbeat,” she consistently brought depth and nuance to every character she portrayed.

Lunghi’s talents weren’t limited to acting. She lent her voice to various projects, showcasing her vocal versatility. This included lending her voice to audiobooks and even a memorable stint in popular coffee commercials.

Always up for a challenge, Lunghi even dared to step outside her comfort zone by participating in the BBC’s dance competition show “Strictly Come Dancing” in 2008. This experience displayed her dedication to her craft and her willingness to entertain audiences in new and exciting ways.

A Legacy of Enduring Excellence

Today, Cherie Lunghi remains an active force in the entertainment industry. While her film appearances may have become less frequent, she continues to grace the stage and lend her voice to various projects. She is a respected mentor to younger actors, sharing her vast experience and knowledge.

Lunghi’s impact on British cinema and television is undeniable. Her captivating performances have left a lasting impression on audiences worldwide. From the mythical queen Guinevere to the groundbreaking female football manager Gabriella Benson, Lunghi’s characters continue to inspire and entertain. Her dedication to her craft and her willingness to embrace diverse roles solidify her position as one of Britain’s most celebrated actresses.

Beyond awards and accolades, Cherie Lunghi’s true legacy lies in her ability to connect with audiences on a profound level. Her characters resonate with viewers, leaving a lasting impression long after the credits roll. As she continues her illustrious career, one thing remains certain: Cherie Lunghi’s name will forever be etched in the annals of British acting history.


Cherie Lunghi’s impressive career has sparked curiosity among fans. This FAQ aims to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about this captivating actress.

Early Life and Career Beginnings

Q: Where was Cherie Lunghi born?

A: Cherie Lunghi was born in Nottingham, England, in 1952.

Q: What is Cherie Lunghi’s ethnicity?

A: Lunghi is of mixed ethnicity. Her father was Italian, and her mother was English.

Q: Did Cherie Lunghi always want to be an actress?

A: Lunghi has stated that she wasn’t particularly academic and gravitated towards acting from a young age.

Q: Where did Cherie Lunghi train as an actress?

A: Lunghi attended the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, a prestigious drama school.

Theatre Work and Stage Success

Q: Was Cherie Lunghi always a film and television actress?

A: No, Lunghi’s career began on stage. She enjoyed a successful theatre career before transitioning to film and television.

Q: What kind of roles did Cherie Lunghi play in the theatre?

A: Lunghi tackled a diverse range of roles, including classics by Shakespeare and contemporary plays.

Q: Did Cherie Lunghi win any awards for her theater work?

A: There is no readily available information on awards specifically for her theater work. However, her critical acclaim suggests she received recognition within the theater community.

Breakout Role and Rise to Fame

Q: What movie launched Cherie Lunghi’s film career?

A: Lunghi’s breakout role was Queen Guinevere in the 1981 film “Excalibur.”

Q: What other notable films has Cherie Lunghi been in?

A: Lunghi has had a prolific film career, including roles in “The Mission” (1986), “Frankenstein” (1994), and “The Borrowers” (1997).

Q: Does Cherie Lunghi still act in movies?

A: While her film appearances may be less frequent, Lunghi remains active in the industry.

Television Work and Beyond the Screen

Q: What are some of Cherie Lunghi’s most memorable television roles?

A: Lunghi is remembered for her groundbreaking role as Gabriella Benson in “The Manageress” (1990-1991). She also appeared in various other shows like “Poirot” and “Heartbeat.”

Q: Did Cherie Lunghi ever do anything besides acting?

A: Yes, Lunghi is a versatile performer. She has done voice acting for audiobooks and commercials and even participated in the BBC dance competition show “Strictly Come Dancing” in 2008.

Q: Is Cherie Lunghi married?

A: Lunghi was briefly married to fellow actor Ralph Lawson in the 1970s. The marriage was one of convenience and did not last long.

Q: Does Cherie Lunghi have children?

A: Yes, Lunghi has a daughter, Nathalie Lunghi, with director Roland Joffé.

Legacy and Impact

Q: What is Cherie Lunghi considered an icon for?

A: Lunghi is celebrated for her talent, versatility, and ability to portray strong, complex characters. She is also recognized for breaking stereotypes with roles like the pioneering female football manager in “The Manageress.”

Q: Is Cherie Lunghi still involved in the entertainment industry?

A: Yes, Lunghi remains active, occasionally appearing in films, lending her voice to projects, and being a respected figure in the industry.

Q: What is Cherie Lunghi’s legacy?

A: Cherie Lunghi’s legacy lies in her captivating performances, her dedication to her craft, and her ability to connect with audiences on a deep level.

This FAQ provides a glimpse into Cherie Lunghi’s remarkable career. As she continues to inspire with her talent, her name will undoubtedly remain etched in the history of British entertainment.

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